Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a recent vote to support a UN resolution endorsing Palestinian self-determination is not a shift in Canada’s policy against singling out Israel for criticism on the international stage.
Trudeau made the remarks Monday at a menorah lighting on Parliament Hill, where about 100 parliamentarians and members of the Jewish community gathered to mark the upcoming Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
Protest turns violent during pro-Israel event at York University
For more than a decade, Canada has voted against the resolutions but Trudeau says Canada felt it had to change course on that one resolution, in order to emphasize its support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“I hear you,” Trudeau told those gathered around the menorah. “I understand that many of you were alarmed by this decision. The government felt that it was important to reiterate its commitment to a two-states-for-two-peoples solution at a time when its prospects appear increasingly under threat.
“But let me be very clear. Our enduring friendship with Israel remains. We will continue to stand strongly against the singling out of Israel at the UN. Canada remains a steadfast supporter of Israel and Canada will always defend Israel’s right to live in security. And we will always, always, speak up against anti-Semitism at home and abroad. You have my word.”
Canada was roundly criticized for the November vote by Israel, the United States and many within Canada, with several critics accusing Canada of voting with the majority in order to secure a UN Security Council seat next year.
Canada returned to its practice of voting against other resolutions critical of Israel in votes taken this month.
U.S. no longer considers Israel settlements illegal
At the menorah lighting, Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer both denounced recent incidents of anti-Semitism aimed at Jewish students at York University, the University of Toronto and McGill University.
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“They were made to feel uncomfortable because of their identity, because of their support of Israel,” Trudeau said.
“Calling into question Israel’s right to exist or the right of Jewish people to self-determination is promoting anti-Semitism and that’s unacceptable. We will never, ever be silent in the face of such acts. Hatred has no place in Canada and we will continue to condemn it.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fayez al-Sarraj, chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya
Arriving at today’s (9 December) EU Foreign Affairs Council, Josep Borrell Fontelles, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission was asked about the recent memorandum between Turkey and Libya that would give access to a contested zone across the Mediterranean Sea.
The memorandum of understanding on maritime borders signed between Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord is thought to have no legal standing and contravenes the provisions of the International Law of the Sea. Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and France, along with the EU and the US State Department. US State Department. The US State Department spokesperson stated: “The announcement of a signed Turkish-GNA delimitation memorandum of understanding has raised tensions in the region and is unhelpful and provocative.”
The agreement was endorsed by the Turkish parliament last week and prompted Greece to expel the Libyan ambassador to Greece. The agreement aggravates tensions that already exist over exploratory drilling in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone and a long-running dispute of Turkey with Greece, Cyprus and Egypt over oil and gas drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
Greece has expelled the Libyan ambassador in response to the deal. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said that he sided with Greece on the respect for international law. The Austrian minister for foreign affairs, Alexander Schallenberg said he was “a little bit astounding how they (Turkey and Libya GNA) split up the Mediterranean between themselves.”
Josep Borrell said that “it’s not a matter of sanctions today,” adding that ministers would study the “memorandum of understanding” agreed upon between Turkey and Libya. The Turkish and Libyan GNA MoU also includes a deal on expanded security and military cooperation. The agreement is considered to be illegal since it is contrary to the International Law of the Sea and has not been reached with the consideration of the legitimate rights of other states in the region.
Tags: Blok, Borrell, EU High Representative, exclusive economic zone, Greece, Libya, Turkey
Category: A Frontpage, Economy, EU, EU, European Commission, Politics
Saturday, during an appearance on Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends Weekend, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham elaborated on the Trump administration’s decision to not participate in next week’s impeachment hearings before the House Judiciary Committee.
Grisham noted congressional Democrats had not been able to produce any evidence and called the endeavor the product of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) “silly games.”
“We’re not going to participate in a sham hearing that doesn’t give him any rights,” she said. “They get to choose all kinds of things. They keep moving the goalposts, moving the rules. I’ll also mention to people that the president was overseas when they invited him to be a part of that silly hearing. So, that timing was on purpose, and everybody knows it.”
“We’re not going to legitimize this hearing that has been absolutely ridiculous from the start,” Grisham continued. “The only evidence they have is the actual transcripts the president produced that shows he did nothing wrong. This last Judiciary hearing with those three witnesses calling out a 13-year-old son and very biased witnesses — the whole thing is a sham, and it has got to stop. It’s clearly not going to, and if it does move to the Senate, we look forward to that because it will be fair.”
New appointments have been made in the Office of the Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers, Trend reports on Dec. 5.
Fakhri Ismayilov has been appointed assistant to the Azerbaijani prime minister upon the prime minister’s order.
Feyruz Mustafayev has been appointed head of the department of construction, urban planning and public utilities in the Cabinet of Ministers upon the prime minister’s another order.
On Dec. 4, Azer Amiraslanov was appointed to the post of head of the economic department of the Office of the Cabinet of Ministers, and Mehman Taghiyev – head of the department for social affairs of the Office.
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Ahead of the two-day NATO summit in London, four countries discussed their efforts to end the conflict in Syria.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met at the prime ministerial residence in London.
According to a statement from the British Prime Minister’s office, the leaders agreed that attacks against Syrian civilians, including in the rebel-held area of Idlib, must end.
The leaders vowed to work for creating conditions for safe return of refugees, and agreed the fight against terrorism in all its forms must continue. They also discussed Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring targeting the terrorist YPG/PKK in northern Syria. Merkel described the meeting as “good and useful”.
Erdogan also described the meeting as good, and added that developments regarding the operation “will be evaluated”.
In October, Turkey launched Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria, in order to secure Turkey’s borders and aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees. Later, the operation was paused to allow the withdrawal of the terrorists from the planned Syria safe zone, but they, instead, continued attacking soldiers and civilians.
There’s growing evidence of division among leaders on the future of NATO – as a war of words continued throughout the day between Presidents Trump and Macron.
Tomorrow’s leaders meeting – involving 29 member states including Russia – could see heated talks on a number of issues, including Turkey’s military actions in Syria, and President Macron’s recent comments about NATO becoming “brain-dead”.
Sen. Kamala Harris has suspended her presidential bid, bringing to a close her historic effort to secure the Democratic nomination.
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“I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life. My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” the California lawmaker wrote in a letter to supporters. “I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete. In good faith, I can’t tell you, my supporters and volunteers, that I have a path forward if I don’t believe I do. So, to you my supporters, it is with deep regret — but also with deep gratitude — that I am suspending my campaign today.”
Harris took a hard look at the campaign’s resources over the Thanksgiving holiday and made the decision Monday after discussing the path forward with her family and senior aides, a senior Harris aide told ABC News. She will travel to the early states this week to personally and privately thank staff and supporters there for their hard work and dedication to the campaign, the aide added.
Harris’ announcement comes after her campaign drastically cut her staff in October, funneling most of her campaign’s resources toward working on a strong victory in Iowa and leaving other early voting states such as New Hampshire and South Carolina with minimal staffing and funding.
“I’m moving to Iowa,” the senator joked at rallies, as she vowed to campaign in the state each week.
Still she plateaued in the polls in the single digits. In a recent ABC News and Washington Post poll, Harris only garnered 2% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents.
Harris entered the race in January speaking before a crowd of 20,000 people, one of the largest in the 2020 cycle. The senator’s presidential hopes were amplified by a sudden boost of support after a breakthrough moment during the first Democratic presidential debate. On the debate stage, Harris, who is black and Indian American, challenged former Vice President Joe Biden on his past stances on busing policies.
“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me,” Harris said.
On Tuesday, Biden complimented Harris as a competitor.
“She is a first rate intellect, a first rate candidate and a real competitor,” he told reporters at an event in Iowa. “I have mixed emotions about it because she is really a solid, solid person and loaded with talent. I’m sure she’s not dropping out on wanting to make the changes she cares about.”
Those changes, Harris underscored on the trail and in her letter to supporters, centered on “fighting for people whose voices have not been heard or too often ignored.”
On the campaign trail, Harris’ record as district attorney of San Francisco and later attorney general of California, became a frequent area of criticism from her fellow presidential contenders.
As a presidential candidate, Harris’ team sought to highlight her efforts as a progressive prosecutor who championed criminal justice reform and held the powerful accountable. In stump speeches across the country, Harris made a pitch to voters about why she was best poised to “prosecute the case against four more years of Donald Trump.”
Harris’ popularity rose in part because of her harsh questioning of Trump cabinet nominees such as Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. It was those same skills her team tried to highlight as the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump got underway.
Earlier in the day, the Trump campaign and some of its staffers mocked Harris on social media over dropping out of the Democratic primary on Tuesday —including congratulating Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, a candidate with whom the California senator had differed on the debate stage.
“Somehow we will press on,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told ABC News when asked about Harris suspending her campaign.
For her part, Gabbard wished Harris well tweeting “Sending my best wishes to @KamalaHarris, her family & supporters who have campaigned so hard. While we disagree on some issues, we agree on others & I respect her sincere desire to serve the American people. I look forward to working together on the challenges we face as a nation.”
Others, such as former Democratic presidential nominee and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro also lauded Harris for her efforts.
“I’m so thankful for @KamalaHarris’s friendship and candidacy in this race. As a child of immigrants, she’s been a lifelong fighter for opportunity and justice for all Americans, and I’m glad she’ll keep fighting for an America where everyone counts,” he tweeted.
Former Democratic presidential nominee and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to offer words of encouragement to those who volunteer for candidates who end bids.
“To all the candidates, staff, and volunteers who have worked their hearts out for presidential campaigns that have ended—remember that fighting for what you believe in is always worth it,” she tweeted.
ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks and Will Steakin contributed to this report.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has warned that NATO and a future EU army cannot coexist.
Mr Farage said during a campaign event in Buckley, Wales, on Monday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has to choose the UK’s place inside or out the European Defence Union. He said that if the nation commits to the proto-EU army post-Brexit, then the North Atlantic Treaty Organization could collapse.
“NATO and a European Defence Union cannot coexist equally,” Mr Farage said in comments reported by POLITICO.
He continued: “No man effectively can serve both. We’ve got a decision to make.”
Highlighting the importance of British military might to Europe, the Brexit Party leader said: “If we leave the European Defence Union, it becomes valueless. Because without [the UK], it doesn’t have the muscle that it needs.”
“But if we stay, don’t be surprised if NATO falls to pieces and we leave the security and protection that America had for us, thank God, twice in the last century,” he added.
Macron Looking for ‘Any Excuse’ to Get Rid of U.S., Build ‘Walter Mitty EU Army’, Says Farage https://t.co/yMf8jk3uAQ
Mr Farage’s comments come as President of the United States of America Donald J Trump is in the United Kingdom for a three-day visit to mark the 70th anniversary of NATO. During his trip, President Trump is meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The President had criticised the commitment of NATO members when in 2015, just five of the then-28-member union had hit the two per cent GDP minimum spending on defence (those countries being the U.S., UK, Greece, Poland, and Estonia). The USA funds around 70 per cent of NATO, spending 3.4 per cent of its GDP on defence.
In the subsequent years and with the support of Secretary-General Stoltenberg, more European countries have heeded the criticisms of President Trump and have recommitted to the spending target. Even Germany, which was set to fail to meet its own reduced spending target, recently committed to increased spending. Expanded to 29 countries, seven nations are now hitting their two per cent target.
However, French President Emmanuel Macron, who along with Germany is a great proponent of an EU army, claimed last month that NATO was suffering a “brain death”. He alleged America was “turning its back on us [Europe]” and questioned the U.S.’s “commitment” to the defence union and its members.
Macron’s comments proved unpopular with his European allies, with Germany’s Chancellor Merkel saying with an uncharacteristic bluntness that the Frenchman had used “drastic words” and “NATO remains a cornerstone of our security.” The former German defence minister and the next president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen also defended NATO as the “protective shield of freedom”.
President Trump started his NATO visit Tuesday by addressing Macron’s remarks, calling them “very insulting” and remarking that France had many problems of its own, stating: “Nobody needs NATO more than France.”
Farage: Von der Leyen Wants to Build ‘Updated Form of Communism’, Advance EU Army https://t.co/WvcFetxY43
While the Germans and the French leadership may disagree fundamentally on the importance of NATO, they, along with Brussels, remain the cornerstone of support for an EU army, which Mr Farage fears will over-extend its reach and threaten the 70-year-old transatlantic alliance.
Mr Macron had said in November 2018 that the EU needs its own army to “protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia, and even the United States of America”. The call for a “real, true European army” was backed by Chancellor Merkel, the European Commission, and senior European Parliament politician Guy Verhofstadt.
Mr Farage warned in July that as president of the EU’s powerful executive arm, Mrs von der Leyen would advance plans for a European army, saying: “She’s a fanatic for building a European army, but she’s not alone. When it’s completed, NATO will cease to exist or have any relevance in Europe at all.”
In 2017, EU member states signed up to the Permanent Structured Cooperation process, or PESCO — a key element of the bloc’s Defence Union plans formulated by the outgoing European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, who had said the EU needs an army by 2025.
Mr Farage told voters in Wales on Monday that is EU is “not just talking about building their European Defence Union; they are talking about flexing their muscles around the world”.
“I find that in itself very alarming talk. What is clear, what is absolutely clear, is they want NATO out of Europe. That’s what the politicians in Brussels want,” he continued.
“I would say that in a world where there are some major serious threats, we need that military relationship with America today as much as we have ever needed it,” Mr Farage added.
Future German Leader Calls for EU Army to Avoid Being ‘Plaything’ of U.S., China, Russia https://t.co/ubUHuGUo6x
Lib Dem leader said leaders should be ‘very careful’ about relationship with US president, ahead of his arrival for Nato
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Parties attack Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage over Donald Trump ties
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has published a briefing on the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat plans for local government funding. This is not an issue that has attracted much attention in the campaign so far, but it deserves some focus because councils provide vital services – and the gap between what’s on offer from the Tories and Labour is vast.
Although the Conservatives claim to be a low-tax party, under their plans it is more likely that council tax would have to rise, the IFS suggests.
The money allocated by the Conservatives would not be sufficient to meet rising costs and demands over the next parliament even if council tax were increased by 4% a year, necessitating a further retrenchment in services or unfunded top-ups to the plans set out.
The Labour party has allocated more than enough money to meet rising costs and demands, allowing increases in service provision and quality, although not enough to restore them to 2010 levels. That is true even if council tax were frozen – although Labour has no plans for such a freeze.
In her BBC phone-in Nicola Sturgeon said she would like to see the SNP represented in the talks with the EU that would take place if Labour formed a government and negotiated a new Brexit deal. This issue came up in response to a question about fishing. Asked if the SNP would want to have someone negotiating alongside Labour on this, Sturgeon replied:
I want to make sure, in any of these discussions, the interests of the fishing industry were absolutely paramount, and that’s a commitment I would make on behalf of the SNP.
I think Scotland should be at the table in any of these discussions, all of the time, rather than being shut out by Westminster. And fishing is an example of the particular interests we have that mean that we should be much more represented.